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Stage is set for more actors with learning disabilities

FlossieMAINMORE actors with learning disabilities could be starring on the stage and screen, thanks to a pioneering programme of drama courses taking places across Wales.

Eight talented students have just signed up for the latest course at the new Hijinx West Academy, based at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre.

A range of performance skills, including physical theatre, improvisation, mask work and clowning are on the curriculum.

Tutor Alex Harries, of ‘Hinterland’ fame, is in charge of Acting for Screen skills.

Alex, who plays DC Lloyd Elis on the Welsh crime drama, said: “It’s great to be playing a part in helping the industry become more accessible for talented actors of all abilities.”

Hijinx’s goal is that any talented learning disabled actor in Wales will be within a 90-minute drive of a professional training course that is geared to their needs.

The West Academy is the fourth to open following the success of the initial course in Cardiff which launched in 2012.

With help from Lloyds Bank Foundation and Arts Council of Wales, Hijinx opened a North Academy in Prestatyn in November 2014 and a second in Cardiff in July of this year.

Plans are in place to open a Mid Wales course in 2016.

Hijinx’s chief executive Clare Williams said: “We have seen remarkable progress from the students in the South and North Academies and can’t wait to begin that journey with a new company of students from across West Wales. It is also fantastic to be connecting with and creating jobs for arts practitioners elsewhere in Wales.”

Contact Dan McGowan, 02920 300331 or

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